Ashley Westwood has spoken of his pride at captaining Aston Villa in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.
The midfielder was handed the armband with Ron Vlaar still sidelined and usual stand-in Gabby Agbonlahor taken ill before kick-off and, despite the result, believes the club can be proud of their performance.
‘First of all, it was a great honour to captain such a big club,’ he told the Birmingham Mail.
‘We had a good start and up until the 82nd minute we contained them and had chances to win it, but that’s why they’re a top side, they only need half a chance and they took it.’
|Vs Manchester City, October 4, 2014||Outfielder Block||Total Tackle||Tackle Success||Duel Won||Duel Success||Interception||Total Pass||Pass Acc||Mins|
The captaincy role isn’t something which comes new to Westwood, having skippered Crewe Alexandra at the age of 22 before a £2 million move to Villa in August 2012.
The 24-year-old has been through two relegation-threatened campaigns in Paul Lambert’s side since, but this season has seen an improved start, with the club sitting tenth in the table after taking 10 points from their opening seven games.
While the weekend’s loss was the third on the bounce, after consecutive 3-0 defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea, a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield served as an encouraging sign, and Westwood is adamant that things have turned a corner.
‘The training here is a lot different [from Crewe]. I’ve said that ever since I got here. It’s more intense,’ he said.
‘In training you have got to be on it every day. You can’t have a day off.
‘The gaffer is on to us in training and if you’re not performing in training you don’t get picked for the Saturday. That’s what you want.
‘We’ve been like that [defensively] all season.
‘We had a blip against Arsenal, but we stuck at it against Chelsea and now we’ve got to pick up points against the teams that are around us.
‘We’ve had a very tough run. We’ve still had a great start. You’d have taken three points from this set of games.
‘We’re looking to push on now.’